Sunday 2 June 2019

Anthrax outbreak kills dozens of Cattle in Lesotho.

The government of Lesotho has reported an outbreak of Anthrax in villages around the capital, Mesuru, which has killed at least 20 Cattle and infected over a hundred more. In line with World Organisation for Animal Health regulations all exports of livestock to South Africa, which surrounds the landlocked African nation and it its principle market for exports, has been halted until the outbreak has been contained. However, this move has been met with suspicion by farmers in Lesotho, particularly those producing wool or mohair rather than meat products, some of whom have claimed that the out has been faked, in order to force them to sell to Chinese brokers in Lesotho who do not pay as well as South African buyers.

Police in Eastern Cape, South Africa, impound Cattle moved across the border from Lesotho to graze despite a ban on Cattle movements due to an Anthrax outbreak. South African Police Service.

Anthrax is caused by the soil-dwelling Bacterium Bacillus anthracis, which is indigenous to Africa, southern Europe and South Asia, with occasional outbreaks elsewhere. Bacillus anthracis is a gram-positive, aerobic Firmicute Bacterium, a group of Bacteria which are not typically pathogenic, but which includes a few species such as Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes which can cause food poisoning ot skin infections. Bacillus anthracis, is dangerous because its spores, a dormant state usually used to survive unfavourable conditions such as long dry seasons, can enter the bodies of animals via inhalation, ingestion or open wounds, and cause infections which are often fatal. Anthrax is particularly dangerous as, since it is naturally a soil Bacteria, it does not actually need to pass through an Animal host, and is therefore under no evolutionary pressure to minimise the damage to its host, producing a range of toxins which can quickly overwhelm most hosts. Because the Bacteria are typically absorbed as spores, the disease does not always develop immediately after infection, but can be delayed for up to two months, making the cause of outbreaks difficult to track.

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